This is what happens when 9 women can get their shit together and meet

Online friendships can be pretty intense, but nothing compares to finally hugging someone you’ve known only online for years. You get to learn how they sigh after they laugh, how their nose crinkles when they smile, how their voice sounds, and how they walk. It’s kind of magical, really.

The SisterWives are a force to be reckoned with over the wires, but when we actually got together In Real….HO. LEE. SHIT.

It was electric and thrilling and perfect.

I was very nervous meeting eight of them at once. I’m pretty sure I was quiet and wore a huge, creepy grin for a full 24 hours. But then I realized that I already knew these people. They are family. And I can fart if I want to.

Just kidding…I didn’t do that. (that anyone’s aware of)

A handful of our tribe couldn’t make it this time, but that’s okay….there will be another SisterWives gathering in the near future. And another….and another…..

To enjoy a hilarious recap and see photos of our meet up, go HERE.

 

Author Beth Teliho’s Savvy Advice for First-Time Novelists

In which I dump all my writing/pubbing/marketing knowledge in one place. Paying it forward.  Use *THIS LINK* to read full post!

An Unedited Life

Beth Teliho Beth Teliho, author of “Order of Seven”

In May, I featured a review of a book titled “Order of Seven” that was blowing the mismatched socks off young-adult, paranormal/fantasy readers. Since then, first-time author Beth Teliho has continued to sell copies and rack up glowing reviews of her captivating book.

I asked Beth if she would consider writing a post for An Unedited Life about what it takes to write, self-publish and market a successful first novel, and she was kind enough to consent. Today, I have the honor of sharing that marvelous post with you. It’s packed full of need-to-know information for first-time novelists — or for anyone anywhere who is considering becoming a self-published author.

What follows is a post abundant with common sense, priceless links and sound advice — all offered up from Beth’s own first-hand experience and in her distinctive and humorous voice. Trust me, you’re going to…

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BE A REBEL

My battle with self-image has been life long. I don’t remember a single day in my life where I was happy with my body. Okay, maybe that one year when I lived off of diet coke and cigarettes back in my twenties, and even then I would’ve changed some things had I been given the opportunity. I dropped to 115 lbs and at 5’6″ that was underweight for me and obviously not healthy At. All. But it’s the last time I remember feeling totally free.

For a multitude of reasons which I shall not delve into here, my self-image is tied into my feelings of worthiness. Do I belong? Depends on weight. Do I deserve X, Y, Z? Depends on weight. If someone acts like they don’t really like me….I assume it’s because of my appearance. Pretty and thin = worthy.

Of course, I never put that standard on anyone else. Just me.

I tend to gain and lose the same ten pounds over and over and over. All through my thirties and into my forties, it was the same old story. Gain some weight over the holidays, then rein it in and lose ten pounds. But I’ve never been above a size 12.

Upon entering my forties, I took up running and, briefly, crossfit. I was arguably the most fit I’d ever been, but also the most critical of myself. The expectations I set were stricter and more unrealistic than ever. It was becoming obsessive.

In the summer of 2013, I was viewing photos from a recent family trip to Colorado. When I saw myself in the pictures I cried. They were real tears of disgust and anger because what I saw was appalling in my eyes. A failure. Someone who is unacceptable. A disgrace. And I was bitter and resentful that I worked So Hard and still looked like shit.

I was a size 8/10. In retrospect, I looked fit and amazing, but I couldn’t see that then. Ridiculous, right? But logic doesn’t always play a role in corrosive thought processes.

I begged *insert Divine energy* to please let me have a body I’m not ashamed of. PLEASE. Please, I’m working so hard, please let my body reflect it. I just want to go out with friends and not be consumed with my appearance. I want to agree to that beach trip my husband keeps mentioning, rather than make excuses why I can’t.

And then that Fall and Winter of 2013, I started gaining weight for no reason. My diet and exercise hadn’t changed. Perfect, give the girl with body images issues some random weight gain. Ohh, the irony, right? It’s just my winter layer, I told myself. I’ll get my game-face on in January.

Come January, not only did I get my game-face on, I became vegan and began running again.

My husband, who went vegan as well, lost 15 pounds.

I gained 12.

Throughout all of 2014, I continued to steadily gain weight. By December, less than eighteen months after the weight gain started, I’d put on nearly 30 pounds. THIRTY. That’s a medium size dog…on my ass.

Panic and shame don’t begin to describe it.

please let me have a body I’m not ashamed of….

I stopped volunteering at the school. I started parking in the back driveway to hide from neighbors. I cancelled social engagements, unless it was with my most trusted friends whom I don’t feel judged by. I didn’t eat in front of other people because I didn’t want them to judge what I ate. I couldn’t risk them thinking, “That’s why she’s gained weight…did you see her eating?” or worse, “Wow, she’s really let herself go.” I couldn’t bear the thought that people might think I sat around eating cheeseburgers all day.

The courage I had to muster just to be seen in public – especially in front of people who hadn’t seen me in a while – was titanic, and usually ended with me crying on the way home. Mortified.

Even worse? I wanted to write about it, but was too embarrassed to “come out” to my online community as “not skinny and perfect”. Because then what reason would they have to like me?

please let me have a body I’m not ashamed of….

I went to two doctors who each did full blood panels and physical exams. It has to be my hormones, right? Or my thyroid? B12 deficiency? I’ll be able to take a pill and this nightmare will end, RIGHT?

“Mrs. Teliho, you have the cholesterol and blood pressure of a 25 year old and you’re perfectly healthy. Keep up the good work.”

Good work?? But I’m failing. I’m….I’m…the F-word….*whispers* fat. I’ve become my worst nightmare. I’m a monster. How can I be fat? I showed up to boot camp at the crack-ass-o-dawn, in the hot Texas summer, on a Saturday, and flipped 200 lb tires in a parking lot. I took my own sweet potato to the family BBQ and didn’t touch the chips. I’ve been doing everything right. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

There was a part of me – the logical part – that knew how screwed up this thinking was. I was so grateful for my health, and for my family’s health, and my awesome marriage…so many *real* things to be thankful for….yet I couldn’t stop fixating on my weight, which continued to pile on in 2015, albeit slower.

One doctor said I should try a juice cleanse to help jump-start my metabolism. I spent $200 on the best juicer and did the cleanse. I lost eleven pounds in two weeks. And gained it all back over the next eight weeks.

Another doctor sent me to a nutritionist who suggested a 40 day cycle of injectable HCG, which is a hormone that tricks your body into thinking it’s pregnant, while committing to a PERMANENT 500 – 700 calorie/day diet. This for the small price of $400.

Oh sure. *eye roll* That’s realistic and safe. I’d rather eat frog assholes.

I’ve always believed part of the reason we’re here is to learn lessons, so whenever I’m facing a challenge I constantly ask myself, what am I supposed to learn from this?

And then I remembered – when I was wishing I was back to the size I was in those Colorado photos – that I hated my body when I was thin, too. I’ve never been happy with my body, so what does it matter if I lose weight? I’ll still fixate, criticize, and stew in self-hate.

There have been several major movements in the media (alliterate much?) over the past year or so that got my attention. Curvy women living unapologetically. Models, bloggers, comedians, moms, authors…all of them embracing their shape, whatever that may be. Funny, smart, talented, successful women. Slowly, this began making an impact on me.

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BEAUTIFUL DENISE BIDOT

I was at the pool a few weeks ago and there happened to be a high ratio of curvy women. The astonishing thing I noticed is that they weren’t covering up. They were in bikinis. In the pool with their kids. Enjoying a snow cone and smiling. You know how that made me feel? Proud. Unashamed. Normal. Jesus, it was incredible. And that’s when it hit me. Our perception is our reality. If we’re fed images of beaches filled with size 0 bodies with golden tans and perfect hair, than that’s what we process as acceptable and realistic. Who are we to mess up the picture with our pale skin and stomach rolls?

I wanted to be a part of this incredible movement, and it starts with being a rebel and living unapologetically.

I searched for a lesson and I got one. Want to know what I learned?

I’ve been a fucking fool. We all have.

I learned I’ve been a pawn in our culture’s ploy to make money off media-imposed insecurities. The media that tricked us into thinking it’s adorable to see a thin person enjoy a dessert, and repulsive when a curvy person does it. The media that teaches us that there’s only one perfect way to look, and everyone else should be able to achieve that body with diet and exercise, and if you don’t, then you’re lazy or ignorant.

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BE A REBEL

I learned that happiness is in loving yourself, unconditionally.

My body is a result of genetics, and my weight gain is (evidently) the result of genetics and age. The same genetics that gave me pretty hair, a great smile, high cheekbones and full lips. The same genetics that gave me a body that’s been strong and healthy for over four decades. The same genetics that allowed me to have two healthy sons. The same genetics that gave me the creativity, imagination, and drive to write a book and publish it.

I learned that I’m beautiful because I say so. I learned that weight doesn’t define me. I learned that appearance does not always reflect health and fitness levels. I learned all bodies are gorgeous, not just the ones the media pushes down our throats. I learned that “normal” bodies come in ALL shapes and sizes. We’re all normal.

The Universe works in mysterious ways. Turns out I got exactly what I’d wished and prayed for, but not in the way I’d imagined. My perspective had to change, not my weight.

I got a body I’m not ashamed of.

Yes, there are days I “relapse” into old thinking habits, and the shame seeps in my bones like a virus. Hell, this week in particular has been brutal just because of the vulnerable nature of this post. It’s something I’ll always have to maintain, just like any big life change. You know what I do to readjust my perspective? I think of my friends, and how when I visualize them, their weight never enters the equation. I think of their light, their energy, their laugh, and how they make me feel. How their happiness matters to me. I think how beautiful they are because of their amazing spirit. And then I picture myself the same way.

Nowadays, I choose food for its health benefits – and sometimes that means mental health and this gal needs nachos and a cold beer. I don’t apologize for it. I choose exercise I enjoy and I do it because it feels good, as opposed to doing it as a punishment for last night’s bread. I eagerly keep plans with friends. I get in the pool with my kids. I smile, a lot.

And I went on that beach trip with my husband, rockin’ a bikini.

Regardless of what the future holds – gain, lose, maintain – I hope I continue what I started here today, which is to represent myself without hiding. To be me, without shame.

To be free.

 

12 Signs You Live With a Competitive Cyclist

1. You’re repeatedly told, “Please don’t put anything in the dryer that has a padded crotch.”

2. You start to use a curiously large tube of toothpaste when you see it’s actually Chamois Butter, which is basically WD 40 for ass cheeks and inner thighs. (more…)

The Ghostess With The Mostess

I know I’m late getting this Post-Portland-Poltergeist update on the blog, but it took me this long to recoup from four days of acting like I was 23 again. Props to my scuzzin, Mikey, who is an amazing host, often making me and Vanessa dinner or late-night snacks, showing us all around his incredible city, and taking us to the coolest bars and restaurants. Isn’t he adorbs? (ahhh the pasty glow of our pigment-lacking genetics)

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Halfway through our “reds flight” wine tasting and we’re feelin’ no pain.

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I DON’T WANT TO SEE DEAD PEOPLE!

GUYS.

I’m not even kidding. In exactly one week I’ll be staying in a haunted house for four whole days. HAUNTED. Like for reals.

You know I love this shit. I mean, duh, I wrote about it. I’m obsessed with the paranormal and I love watching shows about ghosts or ghost hunters. But that’s on TV.

As in from AFAR.

I am not down with close and personal ghost encounters. I repeat: I am not down with it.

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Because you’re smart, I give you this

You want to know why books like Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl are such a hit? Because they’re smart and unexpected. In the literary world, plots tend to get diluted and predictable, and it’s awesome when an author is enlightened and brave enough to break out of formulaic confines and actually surprise readers.

(cough-giveaway ahead-cough) 

Because I consider you to be the savvy sort of reader, I bring you a novel whose author did exactly what I described above. DEAR STEPHANIE by Mandi Castle. (< hit that title to go straight to Amazon and order! Released TODAY!)

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SKY ROCKETS IN FLIGHT

Sometimes little gifts fall out of the sky into my lap. That’s exactly what happened when my friend, Sister Wife, and blogger-buddy-extraordinaire, Samara, agreed to guest post here. If you don’t already know her (how could you not??), be prepared for passionate, fiery, sweet as pie, and funny as hell. Without further ado….

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WAHM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM

Quite early this past Saturday morning, I was in Writer-Beast-Mode with a deadline dangling over my head, typing busily on my laptop while my eight-year-old twirled around me, talking nonstop as he’s known to do. I was half-paying attention to him, nodding and smiling, certainly not 100% present, I admit. Until he said this and my world came to a screeching halt:

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YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW!

Guys. It’s live. Right this second. Order of Seven is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It has my name on it. Because I wrote it. My name is on a book.

MY NAME IS ON A BOOK.

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